Content writing is a skill that needs to be learnt and practiced regularly. The difficulty for many writers is that their skills need to be developed quickly and within a very competitive market. So what’s the best way to learn these new skills and apply them successfully to a marketing environment.
In this article I want to explain something that seems to be central to most successful business people, and that is ‘mentoring’. This is a concept that is very much acknowledged within business circles, but is perhaps less understood or used within the area of digital marketing.
Mentoring is something that you can receive but it’s also a way of giving back to the business world.
This article looks at the following areas of mentoring.
- What is mentoring
- Statistics don’t lie
- Select and follow a mentor
- Look at community mentoring options
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is traditionally defined as a working relationship between an experienced person in the industry, who supports a less experienced person and provides them with feedback, and gives them insights into their work.
It is an opportunity for the mentee, who is receiving the support to benefit from the wisdom of others. There are a number of skills that mentors need to possess in traditional one on one mentoring, in order for the experience to be fully rewarding. Jessica Brondo lists several things that all mentors need in order to be successful.
- You need time – mentoring is a commitment and so mentors need to have time to spend with their mentee if the experience is to be beneficial.
- You need boundaries – mentoring is a relationship and both parties need to be comfortable about how far you discuss personal or life issues within a work mentoring program.
- Age isn’t an issue – especially in digital marketing many older people are entering a new workplace and are working alongside younger and more experienced people, mentoring is not age specific.
- Have your own mentor – even as a mentor we can all benefit from sharing problems, concerns or having a fresh pair of experienced eyes review something.
However one of the disadvantages of global industries such as digital marketing, is that many people work from home or in different countries, so one to one meet ups for a cup of coffee are not always possible.
Making Time for mentoring
Mentoring is a commitment and finding time and space in a busy schedule might not always be possible for some people.
If you are lucky enough to be able to meet up with someone who has experience and is willing to mentor you, then you both need to make time to listen and share insights together.
In a digital age this time could be through Skype calls, answering email questions or providing links to useful articles.
Statistics on Mentoring
Is there any evidence of how mentoring benefits people? Well according to an article by Sujan Patel, as well as the professional ideas you receive mentoring can even increase your income. He cited research which showed that those workers who received mentoring support increased their salary by more than 90%, compared to those workers who didn’t use a mentor.
Mentoring can increase both your promotion prospects and your income - Forbes
In another article Lisa Quast spoke about the advantages of being the mentor and of taking someone on and helping them progress. She described how mentors could benefit by;
- learning more about the company from different perspectives
- increase own networking and meet new people
- learn more about yourself through mentoring others
- engage in problem solving and helping others.
How Do You Find a Mentor?
So knowing there are loads of benefits to mentoring is one thing, but how do you actually get a mentor, especially in an area like content marketing? If you work in a large company there is always the option of traditional mentoring and choosing a senior member who is willing to offer you support.
If you work alone as a freelance content writer then you need to consider other options. The first way is to identify leading experts that offer advice and materials that might support your own development. Some possible thought leaders to follow are,
The three names mentioned above all have web sites with free material and lots of useful and interesting insight into content marketing. Another option is to follow the blogs and training materials of marketing companies such as;
All of these sites offer insights from people involved in content marketing, and you can access blogs and articles usually for free. By choosing a few key leaders you can begin to follow their progress and copy their approach. Each person is different so it’s probably better not to follow too many at once.
Follow Your Mentor
Social Media is a great way to connect with your chosen mentor and follow their advice. This is a bit like mentoring at a distance because the person may never know that you have chosen them as a mentor, but you can read their blogs, follow their advice and read responses they give to other questions
Twitter can be a great way to access lots of articles linked to your niche. By liking and sharing posts you can store the articles on your own twitter feed for reading later.
As you post your own content you will hopefully attract followers with similar interests, this will slowly lead to developing your own circle of expertise with like minded writers and marketeers. Some of the names that I have found useful to follow are;
Another social media site that is useful for following thought leaders is LinkedIn. This platform allows people to blog, so by finding leaders and discussion groups in your niche area it’s a great way to read information that’s relevant to your industry.
Once you have found gurus to follow in your niche area, you can subscribe to their newsletters and receive updates on their most recent blogs. However don’t forget to go through their archives and see what some of their earlier work was like. You can fast-track your own writing skills by following the changes that successful writers have made.
Community Mentoring Support
Mentoring is often seen as a one on one process but there are other options that work as well. For example industry forums, online classrooms and question sites. I have blogged about this topic before through a programme that I use for my own mentoring and also where I can mentor others at wealthy affiliate university.
The advantage of community mentoring is that other people may ask questions that you haven’t thought of so you gather more information. Community mentoring is another way in which you can give back to other people who are also learning about marketing, because everyone learns differently and what might be difficult for you could be easy for someone else and vice versa.
Another way in which you can learn about specific issues within your niche is through question and answer forums such as Quora. Here anyone can ask questions and industry experts will provide detailed answers often with links to resources and websites.
It is a two way process since the experts are looking for a platform to promote their knowledge, whilst other people are seeking answers from multiple perspectives.
Mentoring – A Summary
This article aimed to introduce the idea of mentoring for content writers, since it can be a useful tool in which to acquire knowledge and expertise as well as fast-track progress. The traditional model is one to one guidance from a real person, but in a digital world there are also other options for mentoring that can work just as well.
After all there is no point constantly making the same mistakes that others have made, if there is a way to avoid it and in business experience is often the best teacher.
I hope you have found some of these suggestions useful and please feel free to add connections and useful resources that you have also come across in the comments section brow, I look forward to hearing your ideas.